UK parliamentary report calls for "radical overhaul" of Gambling Commission

By Iqbal Johal

A UK parliamentary report has criticised the Gambling Commission for having an “unacceptably weak understanding” on the impact of gambling harms and how to reduce problem gambling.

The report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, also said both the Department for Digital Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), and the Gambling Commission, have failed to adequately protect customers as gambling moves more to online.

Among its recommendations, the problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people report, called for the Gambling Commission to provide updates on gambling patterns and industry behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also wants to see a new, published league table of gambling operators’ behaviour towards their customers.

The committee said the DCMS must begin its planned review of the Gambling Act, and the Gambling Commission should develop a plan to be more proactive in influencing the industry to treat customers better, by improving its data collection.

Committee chair Meg Hillier, MP said the Gambling Commission needs a “radical overhaul”, adding: “What has emerged in evidence is a picture of a torpid, toothless regulator that doesn’t seem terribly interested in either the harms it exists to reduce or the means it might use to achieve that.”

In its response, a Betting and Gaming Council spokesperson, said: “We are committed to making more voluntary changes and driving up safer gambling standards. We will work with the Gambling Commission and the Government to achieve this, particularly on the forthcoming review of the Gambling Act.”

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